Comprehensive guide on how to use your skin care products

products-2-editedBeauty is a billion dollar industry; therefore, we have a very large palette of cosmetic, skin care, and medical products to choose from. This can be overwhelming for many of us most of the time.

First of all, it is hard to choose the products that are the most appropriate for our skin type and condition. Second of all, it is both time consuming and difficult to figure out the order in which we should use these products.

So I’ve decided to elucidate this mystery. Every day, I write comprehensive skin care regimens for my patients, so I will put these in writing here for everybody who is interested in learning how to layer correctly.

MORNING

  1. Mild Cleanser. Generally it is recommended that you don’t strip your skin off of all the “good” oils that it naturally produces overnight. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use a very gentle milky cleanser to wash the face; my personal preference is to use room temperature water to wash my face. Hot water is dehydrating and drying for the skin. Skin Ceuticals Gentle Cleanser or Avene Clean AC are perfect for the morning wash. 
  2. Toner. It’s not a must. However, if you love that squeaky clean feeling, after you wash your face you can use a toner or astringent. You have to make sure that your toner does not contain alcohol, as that would dry out the skin, and in time damage it, just like hot water. I personally don’t like to use toners too much, but it’s just my preference. 
  3. Serum. This is one of the most important steps in skin care. It is as important as using a Retinoic acid at night, and using sunscreen during the day. I recommend a concentrated antioxidant serum every morning, in the form of a dropper or lotion. The reason we need to use an antioxidant serum every morning is because antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that damage our skin throughout the day. Think of free radicals for the skin and body in general, like cavities are for the teeth. They damage from the inside by breaking down the collagen and the elasticity inside the skin. My personal all-time favorite antioxidant serums are Phloretin CF and CE Ferulic from Skin Ceuticals. 
  4. Moisturizer. The reason we apply moisturizer after the serum is because moisturizers have a different chemical formulation which does not allow them to penetrate into the skin too much. They create an occlusive layer which locks in the previous products and the naturally occurring moisture. Now in order to avoid too many steps in the morning, I generally prefer to use a moisturizer with an SPF 20 or 30 already included, like Avene Hydrance Optimale SPF25.  But if you prefer a separate sunscreen, this would be your next step.
  5. Sunscreen. I am a big believer in physical/mineral sunscreen. I personally don’t like the idea of a chemical sunscreen, simply because physical sunscreen creates a protective “shield” which reflects away damaging sun rays, while the chemical ones neutralize the damaging sun rays once they have already entered the skin. Therefore, some of my favorite physical sunscreens are MD Solar Science Tinted Cream , Physical Matte UV Defense SPF50 from Skin Ceuticals, and Color Science Sunforgettable SPF 50 in case you have oily/acne prone skin and prefer a powder sunscreen. 

products4-editedEVENING

  1. Cleanser. In the evening, it is important that we cleanse the skin very well, and wash off all the dirt, pollution, and residual products. If you use makeup, make sure you remove all makeup first, with a makeup remover like Micellar water. After removing all your makeup, you’ll want to wash the face with a foamy, possibly medicated cleanser.
  2. Exfoliation. I strongly recommend that you exfoliate your skin at home. If you have a Clarisonic Brush, you can use it every day (only once) because it provides just the right amount of exfoliation on a daily basis, without being too abrasive. If you like to exfoliate with other products, such as mild facial scrubs or exfoliating serums (like Blemish and Age Defense from Skin Ceuticals), this would be the time to do so.
  3. Treatment product. After exfoliation, I recommend that you use any medicated products you might have, such as Salicylic Acid, Retinoic Acid, or Hydroquinone, for acne, anti-aging, or brightening purposes. Generally if you have a good Retinol or RetinA product, I recommend that you use only a pea size amount at a time. Take one pea size amount of that product and spread it evenly all over the face, avoiding the area around the eyes and the mouth. Using it this way, you’ll avoid the unpleasant irritation and peeling that occurs almost every time a retinoic acid product is used incorrectly. One of my favorite Retinol products lately is the PCA Retinol.
  4.  Serum. Now, you’ll want to apply a hydrating/anti-aging and replenishing serum to face, neck, chest, and hands. Or, you can also use the anti-oxidant serum from the morning. A little extra Vitamin C never harmed anyone! My favorite serum I like to use at night though is Metacell Renewal B3.
  5. Night moisturizer OR facial oil. In order to lock everything in and help with the repairing process over night, I recommend a good peptide cream or a replenishing oil like Jojoba oil, for the face, neck, and chest. I really like this Perricone MD Neuropeptide Firming Cream, but it is on the pricey side. 
  6. Eye treatment. Last but not least, a good eye cream, eye serum, or even pure Vitamin E will help the sensitive skin around your eyes while you sleep. I usually apply the same treatment around my lips, to avoid those vertical fine lines. You’ll really like this Neocutis Lumiere eye treatment

Enjoy your beautiful skin! signature pic monkey ed 1

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The best face mask for Acne and not only!

Turns out that Clay is a miraculous ingredient that’s used a lot in skin care (especially for acneic skin) but also as a teeth whitener and for internal health purposes. Yes, that does mean that some people swear by it and its ability to heal,  or improve internal health. I have been trying to get myself to order some for me to try out, but it’s hard to order things and get them shipped to Mexico, so I’ll wait until my first trip to the U.S., to be able to pick up some.

Meanwhile, if you have access to a Whole Foods store or have the ability to order online, I highly recommend to get yourself some Clay masks. Clay can make an astringent and regenerating mask, which is going to deliver nutrients and minerals to your skin, exercise your capillaries to stimulate blood flow to the surface of your skin,  meanwhile withdrawing impurities and refining the pores and reducing inflammation and bacteria on the surface of your skin. I know! Amazing!

I do one for myself regularly at home, and my skin loves it. It brightens, it delivers key ingredients to the skin, it tightens, cleans my pores….What else should I want!

Here it is how to do it. If you have sensitive or dry and dehydrated skin you mix the Clay powder  with the juice from 1/2 cucumber and you can also add one teaspoon of honey optional. Mix it well until it becomes a paste. With your fingertips or a brush you apply it all over the face and sometimes I also do my neck.

clay PicMonkey Collage

For more oily/acneic skin types, it’s best if you mix it with the juice from one orange (for the citric astringent properties), and a couple of drops of Tea Tree oil. You can do this procedure once a day for the first 7 days, and then just once per week.

You leave it on your skin until….attention!…it is semi-dry. Never leave a Clay mask on your skin until it’s so dry that it starts flaking off and the skin starts hurting, because at that point the dry clay will start actually withdrawing all the hydration from your skin and your face will hurt and become sensitive after the procedure.

clay6 ed

After about 10 minutes from application, start rinsing it off with room temperature water. Make your whole face damp and start working the clay in circular motions for a couple of minutes. After this, go ahead and rinse off the whole face, until the skin feels squeaky clean. Follow with a hydrating serum and your favorite moisturizer and enjoy your soft, exfoliated and bright happy skin.

In this magnified picture I am showing my results after one application.

clay8 edHere are some of my favorite Clay masks:

Skin Ceuticals-Clarifying Clay Mask – which is already pre mixed with Alpha Hydroxy Acids and it comes in a white paste, ready to apply! I use this one on my acne patients and everyone loves it!

Asla Vital Clay Powder – The one I am using at this moment, and I also use it on my patients.

Aztec Secret- Indian Healing Clay

A. Vogel White Clay 

 

signature pic monkey ed 1

 

 

1,2,3, beautiful skin for the holidays!

I’ve recently perfected an old recipe for a facial exfoliator using simple ingredients all of us have in our kitchen. It’s very easy to make and extremely effective for any skin type, but will provide the most benefits to congested, acneic, pigmented and dull skin types.

Here there are the ingredients you’ll need:

1 lemon or lime, 1 teaspoon honey,  2 teaspoons sugar (any kind),  2 teaspoons baking soda

exfo colage

Preparation:

  1. Squeeze the juice of one lemon/lime
  2. Add the honey
  3. Add the sugar
  4. Add the baking soda and mix.

exfo8

Apply the mixture to the cleaned face, using a bit of friction in the problematic areas (nose, chin, jawline, etc.). Leave on skin for a maximum of 10 minutes and wash off with cold water. Your skin will start glowing instantly!  The acne and hyperpigmentation will start fading from the second use!

Follow with your favorite hydrator and repeat next week.

exfo7

Me, immediately after using this exfoliator on my face. Completely makeup free!

 

Enjoy! signature pic monkey ed 1

The skin is your best accessory

Woman massaging legs sitting on white backgroundAs a professional in the health and beauty industry, I have developed a bad habit!  When I meet someone for the first time, I always check out their skin. I look at the face initially, then neck, chest, hands, knees (if I have visual access to them) and last, but not least, I look at their heels and toes. Nothing speaks more about someone than the appearance of their skin, hair and nails. I would say that having beautiful, flawless skin is just as important as having a good, fresh manicure and pedicure. Ladies trust me, all of the above speak volumes about you! And also trust me when I say that if you achieve beautiful, flawless skin on your face and body, everyone you’ll meet will notice!

I have a body routine I do once a week, that I wanted to share with you that will help with that dead scaly skin on different areas of your body, with blood circulation and the lymph flow.

Here are some simple steps for you to follow at least once a week, before and during your shower, in order to achieve flawless, young looking and vibrant skin!

1. Before you get in the shower take a dry body brush (natural bristle brush) and brush your whole body, starting at the soles of your feet, your back, arms and upper body.

drybrush

Use long, upward, gentle strokes towards your heart and get your partner to help with your back, if necessary. Your skin is the biggest organ on your body and you need to keep it exfoliated in order to make sure that the pores are not clogged and that its ability to excrete toxins and sweat is not impaired. If the natural detoxification ability of your skin is impaired, then your other body organs will have to take on the extra work, and it’s going to be harder on them and on your body in general.
P.S. Dry body brushing can be done every day if you have time and you are passionate about the health of your skin.

2. After your dry brushing, get in the shower and you use this body scrub I have perfected over time. Please note that it is a bit of a messy procedure, so there is a bit of clean up to do afterwards.


NATURAL BODY SCRUB                                    

PicMonkey Collagescrubw

1)  3 spoons olive oil 

2) 5 spoons coconut oil

3) 2 tea spoons honey

4) juice from 1/2 lemon (or orange)

5) 2 spoons sugar 

6) 3-4 spoons coffee grounds 

7) 1 spoon corn flower 

8) 4 tbsp cinnamon

9) 2 spoons greek yogurt (or milk)

Mix them all together in a bowl and apply. Focus on rougher areas of your body like the heels and elbows. Rinse off with tepid water and maybe a little shower gel. But, I don’t like to use shower gel after this exfoliation, because all the oils feed the skin essential nutrients, so I don’t want to remove that nutritive film from the surface of my skin.

This body scrub is loaded with vitamins, essential nutrient oils, anti-oxidants and recently some studies showed that coffee not only helps exfoliate your skin, but it stimulates the blood flow and it helps reduce sun damage.

You’ll achieve soft, velvety skin even from the first procedure and your skin will thank you!

Enjoy!

signature pic monkey 1

Reinvent your baby soft feet!

Be advised! Images are a bit rough 🙂 But hey, what we won’t do for beauty!

You exfoliate your face and your body, but did you know how badly your feet need it too? The regular pedicure you get weekly or bi-weekly is definitely not enough. The skin on your feet is thicker than the skin on the rest of your body. The dead skin cells keep accumulating because of the pressure, the friction and the extended time we spend on our feet. So trust me, your feet have an absolute need to be exfoliated in a serious manner…With peels!

 

baby foot collagetext

 

Recently, I discovered a Japanese peel specifically for the feet, called Baby Foot.  It’s the first foot peel in Florida and probably in the U.S. or at least the first one I have heard of so far!  I recently tried it on my own skin with fantastic results! A unique blend of 17 Natural Extracts, Fruit Acids, Citric Acids, Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid will work together to stimulate cell turnover, brighten and hydrate your feet!

 

Baby foot collage 4 days after text

 

The procedure is absolutely painless, odorless, effortless and there is no scrubbing or filling involved. And it is a one time treatment! Try it and give your feet a chance to look like this!

 

Baby foot collage after text

 

 

Thank you Luminuza Skin!

 

signature pic monkey 1

Dare to wear Red Lips

Bianca Red Lips Collage

Different shades of red I wear all the time!

Obviously for all who know me and for those who don’t, I love makeup. Love wearing it and love teaching ladies how to play with it. And probably first and foremost I love a red lip, well contoured, which stays in place. I don’t know anything else that can make such a great impact as a well done red lipstick. Not to mention that it can be a great pick-me-up for most of us 😉

Here are a few easy steps for you to implement into your makeup routine in order to accomplish astonishing results.

1. Exfoliate the lips a few hours before applying the makeup or even the night before. You need this in order to avoid dead skin flaking off your lips and in order to create a smooth hydrated canvas. Your lipstick is going to go on much smoother. Trust me! 

  a) You can use a soft bristle tooth brush to brush your lips softly. 

  b)You can use a regular face exfoliating scrub or you can make one. Yes ladies, It’s very easy. Take a dime size face moisturizer and mix it in your palm with a teaspoon of white or brown sugar. Rub this onto your lips for one minute or so. 

FYI my fave face scrub so far is the Skin Ceuticals Micro Exfoliating Scrub. You can get it here.

 2. When ready for the makeup, apply a primer for longer lasting results and to prevent “bleeding” and “feathering.” There are some specific ones for the lips or I sometimes apply the face primer over my lips as well. My favorite one for the lips is KISSKISS Liplift by Guerlain. For the face the best primers by far are the Color Science ones. This line has a very healthy concept for the makeup they create and the ingredients are very healthy for your skin. 

3. Follow with lining the lips with a lip pencil. It has to be the same shade as your lipstick or it could be one shade darker. But attention! Don’t go much darker than the lipstick in order to avoid looking older. 

 a) Draw a horizontal line in the middle of the vermilion line of the lower lip.

 b) Draw two dots on the top angles of the “Cupid’s Bow”. Top of your upper lip

 c) Connect the dots and the line on the lower lip. Attention. Don’t try to draw long lines at once because more likely it’s going to go wrong. Use short strokes, patiently, until the lips are contoured nicely and perfectly. 

 4. Use a lip brush for more control and apply the Red Lipstick of your choice. Of course, coordinated with the Lip Pencil you applied already. 

 Here are a couple of my favorite Reds of ALL time: Mac Ruby Woo for a dry/matte velvety finish. Dolce and Gabbana Venere, for an opaque coverage and satin finish. For something more affordable yet very good quality, try L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Lipcolor in British Red. 

5. A dust of face powder/powder foundation over the Red Lipstick is going to set it in place. 

 Personal tip: Use your pinkie finger to dab a small amount of creamy/powder highlighter (the one for your cheeks and brow bone) in the middle of your lower lip. I recommend Jane Iredale In Touch Highlighter Complete

 

And Voila! You are ready to wear those Red Lips proudly and confidently, all over town!

 

Kisses, 

Bianca